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Senate Aspirant

U.S. Senate candidate Tammy Duckworth (left) meets Marsha Griffin in 2015 at the home of Perry Knop and Sheila Simon (seen in the background) in Carbondale. Griffin is again running to represent the Illinois 115th District in the State House.

The Southern File Photo

Jonesboro elementary school teacher Marsha Griffin grabbed a decisive win in the Democratic primary race for Illinois’ 115th district Tuesday, handily beating Tamiko “T.C.” Mueller.

Griffin, a community volunteer who has organized on behalf of correctional officers and their families, captured about 65 percent of the vote with 96 percent of precincts reporting, while Mueller took about 35 percent.

Griffin, who lost to current state rep. Terri Bryant in her first bid for the 115th House seat in 2016, will again square off against Bryant this November in the general election.

“I think it was such a narrow loss last time, and I’m a fighter, and I just really want to strive to be the strongest voice possible. … I’m looking forward to the general election,” Griffin said Tuesday.  

Griffin, the creator of a faith-based advocacy group called “My Brother’s Keeper,” said she felt called to enter the race after seeing the effects of the state budget impasse on Southern Illinois University and social services. She said she wanted to protect state services that the middle class depends on. 

“I also want to congratulate Tamiko for a well-run campaign. I think we both focused on the positives … I know how hard it is to put yourself out there as a candidate, so I really respect that,” Griffin said. 

Mueller, a real estate broker and third-term Jackson County Board member, said she stood for job creation that would keep Southern Illinois strong.

Mueller, who conceded the race in a phone call to Griffin after 9 p.m. Tuesday, said she had “wanted to run a clean honest race without mudslinging” and that she believed she had achieved that goal.

She said she believed her desire to bring jobs back to Southern Illinois resonated with some voters, and that people appreciated the fact that she hadn’t taken funds from PACs.

“It’s the people’s choice. The people have voted and I respect that … We didn’t have all the hundreds of thousands of dollars in our campaign, so I feel happy that we were able to run a really competitive race despite that fact,” Mueller said.

The 115th district covers Jefferson, Washington, Perry, Jackson and Union counties.

janis.esch@thesouthern.com

618-351-5082

On Twitter: @janis_eschSI

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Reporter

Janis Esch is a reporter covering higher education.

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